11 Jan 1943, W J Carrie's wartime diary | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

11 Jan 1943, W J Carrie's wartime diary

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Mon, 11 Jan 1943

Adored - a lovely letter arrived from you today and at last I know where you are. 

It is marked No4 - I haven't received the first 3 and you know Darling I'm quite sure this one has been lying in H.K. since last October.  It must have come by the Kamakura Maru which brought all our Red Cross parcels etc. and arrived here on 3rd October.  We only got our parcels by the middle of November and some letters came in then too.  Harry Butters had one then dated July 17th and yours is of July 3rd.  There are probably hundreds more still in H.K. and they just won't bother about them - I think they have one man censoring them. There are so few Japanese who can read English.

It is so lovely - I can now think of you properly - picture you in your little house in Nile Grove - shopping round about Morningside Station and so forth.  It is now 8.30pm and I am having some nice hot cocoa as a nightcap  we are on Tokyo time 9 hours ahead of  you so it's only 11.30am with you.  I never knew where you might be - as you'll have seen I thought of India, Australia or even South Africa.  But I did really think of you at 9am on 1st  January - I am sure you were thinking of me then.

I was washing the dishes after tiffin today when Tom Martin came in with your letter - oh! the excitement.  I had barely finished it when Dora came in - she'd had a letter from Mrs MacCallum (Maggie) and it she wrote. "I see Mrs Carrie often - she has such a nice family" so Dora rushed along to tell me.  I have told everybody almost of interest - I went up and saw Lin, she was sleeping, so I went back later and had a cup of tea and two small pieces of bread and jam - very special. Everybody was so interested  And what a relief! I just couldn't write before - when I sat down to write the whole position was so terrible that I just had to stop and go and do something. I started as you see on 8th Dec to write and then had to stop - I couldn't write at Christmas time or the New Year but now I must try and write oftener.

I am so happy too at your news. You left Singapore earlier than I expected - I am so glad you went straight home - far better than to Dacca or anywhere else. I am so pleased that Joy has been able to start her medical career and Ian is back at the Academy. But what's this about the Navy! Does he want that as a career or is it only for the war? He might choose a worse career - still there is so much separation for a Naval officer and I wanted to spare him that! You don't think of it when you are young.

And how lucky to have Grannie with you - I am so glad you have got home to look after her too. I hope the C.O. is paying you enough - there used to be a Gen. Order that "Family Remittances" could not exceed half pay but I think that is all abolished.

My memory is terrible these days - I can't remember who "Pam" is - it must be somebody very dear to you if you are prepared to run up to London to see her but I can't remember who she is. It was so nice to see the kiddies "fists" again and yours too of course. Joy did very well in her London Matric. So C.M. is in W.A. now - is she going to be a teacher or what?

You must be pretty busy with only a daily maid for I expect your mother will need some looking after. I wonder how long you have the house for - will it do for me when I get home - I mean is there room? When oh! When will I get home? You have a dog and cat too - poor Betsy had to go of course. I wonder when I'll get your other letters and perhaps a parcel - not till we are relieved I expect. We get the H.K. News - full of Japanese propaganda of course but we can read between the lines and we get some fairly accurate news now. The Russians are doing splendidly and we feel the war in Europe will be over this year sometime. Then the show will really start out here. Sometimes we are optimistic and think we may be out before the summer - I am afraid it may go on till next Autumn and winter. I do so want to be home by August too ! - fancy being separated on our Silver Wedding. We must just hope on.

Glover has been very good since he got back to Shanghai - he sends 50 Military Yen every month - I give half to the H.K. [? Kelly and Walsh man] (Popple) so I have 25. Exchange is H$4 to 1 Military Yen - quite fantastic of course so I get H$100. Prices are outrageous of course. I sometimes buy Skim Milk Powder - it costs H$28 a lb! Cigarettes which normally cost 6 - 7 cents for 10 now cost 60 cents and they are very scarce.

I have had a few parcels in from town - I've kept a list and will show it to you some day and I had some money too from a K Chan - D.O.K. who he is and today 6 Yen from the wife of one of the former Chinese Sanitary Inspectors who is in Macao. The weather has been very kind to us all summer - Stanley is a wonderfully cool place - mosquitoes were kept down and we had little malaria. Deaths have been comparatively few. Recently when we had a spell of cold weather with the N.E. monsoon blowing hard - 46 F on the next door verandah but I have warm clothing - we got 4 cardigans made of khaki cloth and some other things from the Red Cross consignment. We got 2lbs sugar and 8 tins of bully and M and V (meat and veg ration - the old Maconachie) every month so with our other rations we are not so badly off now. But I can't eat much rice yet - I get horrible heartburn when I do. I must really stop now. I'll write more again.

All my love always   Billie